Friday, May 12, 2017

My Birth Story

Six years ago on mother's day, I birthed my precious baby girl. That was the best Mother's Day gift every. To commemorate that day and to give thanks to all the women that labored for their little ones, I am sharing my Labor Story for the first time. 

We would like to formally announce the birth of our healthy baby girl: 
Emmanuelle Kieu-Trang Turner Valverde

What follows is our birth story. At the 38 weeks mark, Hsiu-Li, our midwife checked me and reported that I most likely would go to post-term. I was already having a lot of anxiety about when I’d deliver since my midwife, though legendary, has basically a 9-5pm working schedule uncharacteristic of most midwives. Plus she would be out of town during my anticipated due date. So, saying I’d have to wait longer was a downer

Surprisingly, the same night after our check-up, I began to have strange new pains, beyond my Braxton Hicks cramps (some call practice “contractions” you get during pregnancy). By the following night I was clearly beginning my labor. Per our midwife's advice, we went to Alta Bates, our chosen hospital, for a general evaluation. We learned Emmi was doing great and I had officially started laboring, 1 centimeter dilated and 90% effacement (mumbo jumbo for, my body was getting me prepared for the impending delivery). After two days of contractions, 1 centimeter out of 10 was hardly the result I anticipated; but, at least the triage nurse said I’d probably have a baby within 24 hours.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Modern Family

France is abuzz with what makes an acceptable family unit because one of the forerunners for the country's presidency, Emmanuel Macron, has an unconventional family structure. I appreciate his understanding of his family make-up. Attacked by his opponent's father, Le Pen, for not having biological children and therefore could not care for the future, Macron has responded with, "I have children and grandchildren of the heart. It’s a family that you have to build, it’s a family you have to conquer, a family that doesn’t owe you anything, and that you will never have!”

I myself have what some have come to tease as an "instant ramen" family – mainly because it took place in seemingly a short amount of time, but also because of its unconventional nature.  I met the perfect man for me and adopted our first child in the same year, both not from the same ethnic or racial background as myself (that I know of). We then had a daughter together two years after that, and two years after that decided to get married at the San Francisco City Hall. Though extremely chic and modern to us, some friends were appalled that a Vietnamese American would marry in such manner, so they decided to throw us a "lavish" wedding. Because we insisted on only inviting people we know and love, it turned out to be an only 40 friends and family affair (200+ in a banquet would be more the norm) at a hidden rose garden nearby with reception in our own Tenants in Common backyard. We still live in our tiny TIC by a beautiful lake in the center of our city (not a large home in the suburbs). All this is to say, we are pretty unconventional by the standards of our extended families and cultures. But, it is our family and how we chose to be. I too would defend what we have with earnest conviction.